Hot Take: Did MTV's Scream Series Save The Franchise?

This one might divide fans. But I think there's enough merit to at least discuss it. MTV's Scream: The TV Series may have, in fact, saved the Scream franchise. I know, I know, that's an incredibly difficult pill to swallow right off the bat. However, it's worth diving into.

Let's go back to the summer of 2000. July, to be specific. The parody Scary Movie is released, just mere months after the trilogy's then conclusion, Scream 3, was released.

Scream 3

As Scream die-hards, Scary Movie was excellent! It was funny, smart, sharp, and hit all the right notes with genre fans. And that ultimately hurt the Scream brand. But not at the time. The series was dead, concluded, over, whatever.

Scary Movie

Flash to April 2011.

Not contempt with remaining a trilogy, Scream 4 is released 11 years after the third movie. But the general audience's last memory of Ghostface isn't a menacing image from Scream 3, but rather the goofy, funny Scary Movie version of Ghostface.

I can remember moviegoers in my theater for Scream 4 commenting how the "killer wasn't being funny like the last one." Like, what?! It had happened. The general audience's memories of Scream and Scary Movie had merged into one memory. 

And. That's. Not. A. Good. Thing.

The overly comedic elements of Scream 4 didn't help matters, either. But, with the plans for Scream 5 and 6 being scrapped due to S4's poor box office performance, the series went back into isolation for another 4 years...

...when MTV announced they were gearing up for Scream: The TV Series. Expectations were mixed. Rumors of Neve Campbell making a cameo were more than just rumors. It was actually going to happen before Campbell decided to bow out, not wanting to cross the universes in a forced, inorganic way.

Wes Craven, THE WES CRAVEN, was even tapped to direct the pilot episode. He would also eventually bow out as well, and naturally, rumors swirled about the decision. We now know why he didn't direct the pilot: he was dealing with brain cancer and no one not associated with the famed director knew at the time.

Scream: The TV Series

The TV series offered up a new cast, a new setting, swapping Woodsboro for Lakewood, and a new-looking killer (although familiar in expression). Thematically, the TV series carried much of the same undertones as the movie saga but remains split among Scream fans.

The "die-hards" seem to absolutely loathe the TV series. And that's understandable. It's Scream, but it's not their Scream. In fact, it can be argued that it's Scream in name only. And that's what I'm getting at.

Scream has become a brand. A title. A logo. And although Scream 4 succeeded in washing out the taste of Scary Movie from the mouths of die-hards, it did nothing for the mainstream, aka potential new fans. MTV's series succeeded in keeping the name alive during a time when more Scream movies seemed impossible. And there are droves of fans, new and old, that absolutely adore MTV's efforts.

The series was popular enough to garner a second season and a Halloween special. Hours-wise, there's more MTV Scream than the movies offered at that time.

Scream: Resurrection

In an attempt to cater to the Scream die-hards, it was announced that the third season of the series was moving to VH1 under a new title, Scream: Resurrection, with a new cast, and a new setting. But, and this is a big but, they were bringing back the classic Ghostface mask and Roger L. Jackson was returning to voice the killer. The poor reception to the third season/reboot essentially killed all hopes for another TV revival (although petitions can still be found around the net from fans clamoring for a proper third season).

The VH1 series was successful in one major aspect: they proved that you can't just stick classic Ghostface in a new setting, with a new cast, and expect magic to happen (a poor plot didn't help, either). 

So what happened next? Dimension Films had a firesale following the Weinstein fallout and Spyglass Media Group snatched up the rights. With the Scream brand still very much alive, a new movie was greenlit with Ready or Not directors (and self-proclaimed Scream diehards) tapped to helm the project.

Scream (2022)

The movie, Scream (2022), parodying the requel craze, was a massive success, bringing back all the former players from the Scream movie saga.

So, while not the Scream you wanted, MTV's Scream: The TV Series very much ended up being the Scream we needed, by keeping the Scream flame lit. And with Scream VI due in just a few months, I think it's safe to say that flame is burning bright and white-hot.

While a new film could very well have happened without either TV series ever existing is a strong possibility, those TV series offered a built-in fan base of their own, apart from the movies'. The box office speaks for itself. And with the rising stars of the fifth movie returning for the sixth, a large portion of the box office is 99% secured.

Scream, a movie saga, TV series, and brand, is 100% back. And that's a fact.

Signed, a die-hard.

Honorable mention: while the TV series helped keep the name brand alive, the Dead by Daylight video game kept the Ghost Face brand alive and kicking  

Please direct all hate mail to @nickmeece!

Post a Comment (0)
Talk Scream in the message board or FB Group!